How Crowdfunding is Connecting Classical Musicians with Cash

Monday, June 11, 2012

It used to be that if musicians wanted to record an album or put on a concert, they had to go see people with money — foundations or angel investors.

Increasingly they just go online. With crowdfunding web sites like Kickstarter or Artspire you post your project, usually add a promotional video, and if all goes well, the Internet world chips in to get you the money you need. Recently, a campaign by the punk-cabaret singer Amanda Palmer raked in a staggering $1.2 million, a record for Kickstarter.

Classical musicians have been slower to embrace crowdfunding, but that may soon change as artists from Kronos Quartet and Brooklyn Rider to pianist Vassily Primakov and Tenet Vocal Ensemble show some success in this arena. 

Still, for every triumph, there’s another project that fails to meet funding goals; indeed, Kickstarter reports that 56 percent of them miss their targets. Joining us to discuss this trend are three guests: Anastasia Tsioulcas, a music reporter and producer at NPR Music; Michael Royce, executive director of New York Foundation for the Arts, which recently started the crowdfunding site Artspire; and Tracy Silverman, the Nashville-based electric violinist who used Kickstarter to raise money for an upcoming recording project.

Weigh in: Have you given or received donations through crowdfunding sites? What did you like or dislike about the process?

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Comments [5]

Kahne from Sydney, Auistralia

I think more collaboration and a more proactive local community of musicians in a better start than simply focusing on funding.

Once the audience is engaged it isn't hard to gather funds. I think the real challenge is... how do deliver good local music affordably.

I've put together a solution to help this. Check out www.musomap.com and join us on the map to find out more about the musicians in your community.

Jul. 09 2012 02:30 AM
Paulo from Portugal

PPL Crowdfunding Portugal (ppl.pt) has recently enabled a great success case for classical music crowdfunding.
The author, Luis Tinoco, the Gulbenkian Orchestra, conductor David Alan Miller, also featuring three internationally renowned sopranos: Yeree Suh, Ana Quintans and Raquel Camarinha, have successfully crowdfunded the next album "Orchestral Works".
See reference here: http://www.ppl.com.pt/en/prj/tinoco

The experience of involvement of the fans who invested, supported, promoted and called other fans has been outstanding.

Jun. 19 2012 02:06 PM
Amelia

My Kickstarter project was funded successfully a couple of days ago. The most powerful part is, as you said on the podcast, how great it feels that friends, family, fellow musicians, and random strangers are willing to contribute money to make a project happen. That direct support is powerfully, joyfully inspiring. It makes the work even more meaningful.

The project is here:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1167314388/rachmaninoffs-six-choruses-for-everyone

Jun. 18 2012 08:48 AM
Jeffrey Biegel from New York

Kickstarter is amazing, because you are reaching many people who know that Kickstarter represents many special endeavors. Online project support can work wonders. Some 60+ donors contributed to a new commissioning project, Jake Runestad's "Dreams of the Fallen", to honor veterans past and present, and to build awareness of returning soldiers enduring PTSD (premiere November 2013). The rewards were unique, and each donor of $20+ will have their names inscribed in the Conductor Score along with the name of a veteran of their choice. This was the site which lasted for 60 days http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jakerunestad/dreams-of-the-fallen-commissioning-project?ref=live
and the new online site for donations is http://jakerunestad.com/dreams-of-the-fallen/donate/

Jun. 12 2012 09:43 PM
Fred Gouveia from New York, NY

I recently created a Kickstarter project for a recital at Weill Hall this year. Everything about Kickstarter is revolutionary and worthwhile for classical music and musicians to discover and use. We sadly didn't reach our goal. I was surprised to learn about their "all or nothing" policy. (if you don't reach your fundraising goal, you get $0 -- the donations made go back to the original donors) This should be more clearly stated in their website while you're creating the project. Other than that, it's a great tool and will certainly change the future of fundraising.

Jun. 11 2012 08:47 PM

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